Cyril Power biography in Biographies from the artzine on artrepublic.com
Cyril Edward Power was an English artist best known for his lively linocuts depicting the speed, movement and flow of modern urban London in the 1920’s and 30’s, his artistic partnership with Canadian artist Sybil Andrews, and for co-founding The Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London in 1925. He was also a successful architect and teacher.
Cyril Power was born in Chelsea, London, the eldest child of an architect father who encouraged his interest in the arts, especially drawing. He followed in the family tradition, became an architect and worked in his father’s practice. He excelled there, and in 1900 won The Sloane Medallion, awarded by the Royal Institute of British Architects for his design for an art school.
In 1904 Power married Dorothy Mary Nunn, with whom he was to raise four children. They lived mostly in London – in Putney and then Catford – but for a period in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, where Power was to meet and then work with life-long friend and fellow artist Sybil Andrews.
Power and Andrews enrolled at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art, London, in 1925. The two artists helped Iain McNab and Claude Flight set up The Grosvenor School of Modern Art in Warwick Square. Andrews became the school secretary and Power the principal lecturer. He taught on the form and structure of buildings; historical ornament; the symbolism and outline of architectural styles. At the school Claude Flight taught the art of linocutting and his classes were attended by his colleagues Power and Andrews and students that came from as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.
Around this time Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews began co-authoring prints together under the name Andrew Power. In June 1929, Claude Flight and his associates held an exhibition, the ‘First Exhibition of British Lino-Cuts’ at the Redfern and The Ward Gallery, London. These attracted considerable interest, and commissions for Power’s and Andrew’s work came in from The London Passenger Transport Board.
Frank Pick, the Deputy Chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London commissioned a series of posters. These were created based on the theme of sporting venues reached via the London Underground system and were all signed ‘Andrew Power’. This series lead to further sporting posters and an interest in speed and movement in his work became evident.
In 1930 Power was elected member of the Royal Society of British Artists and established a studio with Andrews in Hammersmith close to the River Thames, a location which inspired many prints by both artists, most notably 'The Eight' by Power and 'Bringing in the Boat' by Sybil Andrews. Architecture was the subject of many of Power’s linocuts, as well as speed, movement, modernity and the urban environment. One of his favourite subjects was the London Underground, a symbol of the modern industrial age, and his print of the newly opened Bank Road Tube Station, ‘The Tube Station’, is one of his most celebrated works.
At the outbreak of World War II, Power was attached to a Heavy Rescue Squad as a surveyor. In the later years of his life, he continued to teach and work, in oils principally. In this period he produced some ninety paintings. He died aged seventy-eight in May 1951 in London.
Works by Cyril Power are held in public collections around the world, including the British Museum, Auckland City Art Gallery, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, National Gallery of Australia, New York Public Library, Art Gallery of Ontario, National Art Gallery of New Zealand and London Transport Museum.
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